Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Propofol Doesn't Kill People...

I read about an anesthesiologist who was facing a dilemma.  Patients, when told they will receive propofol for their anesthetic, will express trepidation and fear.  They always point to the unfortunate death of Michael Jackson as the source of their anxiety.  The doctor tried to explain to the patient all the scientific studies and minimal risks associated with propofol.  This scientific babble usually didn't help much.  I have a better idea; use the analogy that has worked for the National Rifle Association for decades.

A patient asked me about the safety of propofol.  Will what happened to Michael Jackson happen to her?  I told her there is nothing wrong with propofol, just the doctor who gave it to Michael.  Propofol in the proper hands is very safe.  It's like a gun.  A gun in the right hands is very useful in society.  When a crime is committed with a gun, it's not the gun's fault.  Guns don't kill people; people kill people.  Right away patients get the analogy and are much more relaxed and at ease.  The tension is released and everybody's happy. 

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